September 22, 2020
Three UK has named two new executives who will play a crucial role in its ongoing network and IT systems transformation project.
The UK mobile operator has poached Belinda Finch from energy company Centrica to serve in the newly-created role of Chief Information Officer, while Peter Gilson, most recently an O2 employee, joins the company as Director of RAN.
“It’s great to take the baton and lead the next chapter of Three’s transformation programme,” said Finch, who will lead a team of 130 people at the telco. “Through working across all the functions at Three UK and bringing together all our IT capability into one team, we can deliver great customer benefits from our new IT infrastructure,” she said.
Like its competitors and peers the world over, Three is undergoing major operational changes as it gears up for mass-market 5G services. Minimising the silo effect when it comes to network and IT functions is important for telcos as they deal with the complexities of virtualised cloud core networks for 5G, including troubleshooting problems and improving service to end-users.
Three itself notes that, with her single IT team, Finch will be responsible for delivering the final stages of its IT transformation programme and bringing about system improvements that will drive a better customer experience.
Finch brings relevant experience to the telco, having spent the past year and a half at Centrica where she served as Group CIO and Chief of Staff. Prior to that Finch did an eight-year stint at Vodafone, including six years as Head of Transformation and Online, and her CV includes roles at Accenture and KPMG.
Fellow newcomer to Three Peter Gilson also has a telco background, having carried out a series of roles at O2, Ericsson, Arqiva, Samsung and Vodafone, amongst others. His most recent contract role saw him managing O2’s relationship with Vodafone and towers JV Cornerstone as part of the telcos’ network-sharing agreement, Three noted. In his new position as Director of RAN Gilson will take responsibility for Three’s 4G and 5G networks.
The new appointments come in a year of management upheaval at Three UK, mainly on the techie side, but also at the top.
Phil Sheppard spent 19 years at Three, including 10 years as Director of Network Strategy, under a handful of different job titles, but left at the end of last year, along with Director of Core Technology Graham Marsh. Longstanding CEO Dave Dyson followed suit in March – he left for personal reasons, the telco said – while May brought in Carlo Melis as Chief Network Officer, an appointment from Italy’s Wind Tre.
The way telcos run their networks and systems is changing dramatically in this 5G world, and that is exemplified by the ins and outs at Three over the past few months.
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